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and go to the fiscal cliff. how much harder does that make it to reach. a deal? >> it really doesn't make it anymore difficult. we're see egg the usual choreography of negotiations where the parties start o out with their opening positions. what the speaker doesn't like is he's in a weak position on this it issue. he needs to have a heart to heart discussion with his conference and say, look, we lost the election. we lost on this issue. the american people are not with us on this issue. they think those who have done well can be asked to do more. we're going to have to give. the thaj for the president is to know how much he needs to give to the speaker to allow the speaker to sell that to his own conference. >> i have to bet all of you watching have ideas on where the middle ground lies. do you have a position on that? do you see it? >> i have certainly some idea of where the compromise could be. the president has set a target for how much new revenue he wants. you can get a lot of that by raising the rates above $250. if there was additional eliminations, you can get to the same number a
fiscal cliff deal through the senate, and also through the house, they say they hope that he's coming with concrete spending cut ideas that are acceptable to the administration. one of the meetings today will be with senate republican leader mitch mcconnell who a short time ago sounded pretty fired up. >> the only reason democrats are insisting on raising rates is because raising rates on the so-called rich is the holy grail of liberalism. their aim is not job he tkraoe asian, they are interested in wealth destruction. not job creation but wealth destruction. >> reporter: a short time ago vice president biden was out and about and he told reporters that he is optimistic about the overall fiscal cliff talks, martha. martha: we'll see. the way they speak publicly there doesn't seem to be a lot of budging on either side. we know there were pretty high profile white house meetings, but those conversations, not happening publicly right now, but are they going on behind closed doors do we think? >> reporter: we know president obama and speaker john boehner had a phone conversation last nigh
the president told the business round table that a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff could be reached quickly if republicans drop their opposition to raising tax rates on the wealthy. and in an interview on cnbc, timothy geithner says the gop is making a little bit of practice, but the white house is absolutely ready to go over the cliff if tax rates on the top 2% don't rise. >> our obligation is first do no harl. we need to lift that threat over the economy. and now as part of that, we'd like to put in place as i said a carefully designed mix of reforms to put our fiscal balance in the path of sustainability. as long as there is recognition by the other side that those rates will go up, we think we can reach an agreement on the set of reforms as i said that will be good for the economy. >> republicans were quick to hit back. orrin hatch called them stunning and irresponsible, but there may be more cracks in the ranks. "washington post" reports some moderate and conservative republicans are calling on boehner to concede on taxes now while he still has leverage to ask for something in return l
. how do you view fiscal cliff discussions? >> i was pretty optimistic until about three days ago. my sense was republicans had lost enough ground, they wanted to get a new deal before they got weaker. they admitted that there has to be some revenue. meanwhile the obama team led by secretary geithner are comfortable with at least 2:1 what they would call entitlement cuts. so there was a lot of ground for a deal. unfortunately, i think the threats from some democratic leaders that maybe it's okay to go over the fiscal cliff, i'm worried some actually believe that and that's one thing that scares me. i think there's a deal on the table, get a few years deal, it's only if -- obviously the republican caucus could do something stupid, but owes otherwise my main word is the dems decide they want to play for a long term deal that it all has to be resolved right now and it's worth the risk and i don't think it's worth the risk. >> adam, always good to see you. thank you very much indeed. we move on, stay in the united states, strike at the port of los angeles long beach is entering its sevent
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